We’re compiling an Edinburgh book festival dictionary of authors’ favourite words. Tell us yours, and we’ll add it to the listDid you know that there is a word for “to chase girls around the haystacks after dark”? Mark Forsyth certainly does, and he took every opportunity to use it during his Edinburgh book festival talk on some of the English language’s most obscure words. Author of two books on the subject – The Etymologicon and The Horologicon – Forsyth’s etymological enthusiasm was palpable and infectious.When exhausted by that haystack “sprunting”, what better to do than “gongoozle” (to stare idly at a canal or watercourse and do nothing) to avoid becoming “wamblecropped” (overcome with indigestion).The supermarket, he revealed, was a treasure-trove of neologistic usage, with double-sided shelves known as “gondolas”, and hanging advertising boards called either “danglers” or “wobblers” depending on whether they, well, dangle or wobble.But while Forsyth made a good case for English being one of the world’s most eccentric languages, he pointed out that it is actually very difficult to introduce an entirely new word; when asked how he would do so by an audience member, he recommended slipping it into a number one single.Crime writer Ian Rankin …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books